A Fife school teacher has combined his family’s love of sailing with the myths and legends of ancient sea monsters in the Forth to create the first in a series of new children’s books
Steven Blair, who normally splits his time between teaching English at Waid Academy and writing comedy for radio stations, has used the coronavirus lockdown to branch out and write his first children’s story.
Now the 44-year-old father of two’s reading of a story about Bertie, a pirate in search of his own boat, has attracted praise from scores of parents after being posted on social media.
“The stories I’m writing are to be part of an East Neuk Pirates series aimed at three seven year olds in which I aim to celebrate the East Neuk and Fife coastline as a whole,” explained Steve.
“I also intend to introduce basic sailing terminology to this very young readership having struggled to find such stories for my own boat-mad kids.
“I’ve always had a passion for sailing and boats going back to my childhood in Northern Ireland and now my daughter Cicely, age nine and son Bertie, age five, are sailing obsessives too.
“While there are plenty of technical books aimed at teenagers I couldn’t find anything for younger children with a passion for sailing so the story was initially for my own children.”
He said he had been astounded by the response to the East Neuk Pirates Facebook page. The first story – Pirate Bertie’s Bother with Boats – is about a pirate who doesn’t actually have a boat.
“I’ve not even had it published yet but I’m repeatedly being asked by followers where they can purchase a copy, which has given me the confidence to do more,” he said.
Steve now plans to adapt the idea to create a series of tales involving different pirate characters based along the East Neuk coast and including some of the old seafaring tales and myths associated with Fife and the Forth.
“I remember being fascinated by an old tale of an ancient old sea monster from the Forth that I once read in The Courier which set me off in search of more ancient and amazing tales,” he said.
“I’d like to include that sea monster and other interesting myths associated with the region in future works giving them an added connection to Fife.
“If what I’m writing is helping to get a few more children interested in reading and picking up books I’ll know I’ve have succeeded.”
To learn more about Steve’s stories go to his Facebook page East Neuk Pirates.